Chinese foreign ministry says US media, politicians used balloon incident 'as pretext to smear China'


Beijing: China’s foreign ministry said Saturday that US media and politicians had taken advantage of allegations that China flew an espionage balloon over the northwest United States.

The discovery of the balloon prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday to cancel a rare planned trip to Beijing.

Moments before the decision to scrap the visit — aimed at easing tensions between the two countries — China issued a rare statement of regret and blamed winds for pushing what it called a civilian airship into US airspace.

On Saturday, China’s foreign ministry released another statement addressing Blinken’s announcement.

According to Reuters, the ministry said that China has always strictly abided by international law and respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.

“China… never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country,” it said.

“Some politicians and media in the United States used the (balloon) incident as a pretext to attack and smear China.”

The ministry said maintaining communication channels at all levels was important, “especially in dealing with some unexpected situations in a calm and reliable manner”.

The statement further added with regards to Blinken’s trip, which was to have begun Sunday and had been widely publicised in the United States: “As a matter of fact, neither China nor the United States has announced any visit.

“It is the United States’ own decision to release the relevant information and we respect that.”

Blinken would have been the first top US diplomat to visit China since October 2018, signaling a thaw following intense friction under former president Donald Trump.

Last month, Blinken said he would use the trip to help establish “guardrails” to prevent the relationship from escalating into all-out conflict.

Another Chinese spy balloon spotted over Latin America

A Chinese spy balloon was spotted over Latin America, the Pentagon said Friday, a day after a similar craft was seen in US skies.

The Pentagon said the first balloon was now heading eastwards over the central United States, adding it was not being shot down for safety reasons.

Later Friday, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said: “We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America.”

“We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” he added, without specifying its exact location.

With inputs from agencies

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Chinese foreign ministry says US media, politicians used balloon incident 'as pretext to smear China'
Chinese foreign ministry says US media, politicians used balloon incident 'as pretext to smear China'
ASE News
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